Jeff Curran has had his ups and downs. He’s felt the accomplishment of winning a world title and the stinging disappointment of defeat.
Curran is a considered a pioneer of mixed martial arts and has been fighting professionally since 1998. He’s competed at highest levels of the sport all over the world.
At 35 years old, time is no longer a luxury for his battle-tested body. He is a fighter at a crossroads and there is still one accomplishment that has eluded him all of these years; a victory in the Octagon.
“Until I win in the UFC, I am a loss away from retiring,” Curran told MMAWeekly.com.
It is a bold statement from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, but one that he is more determined than ever to fulfill. It will be a tough road towards a UFC return and Curran is prepared to make many sacrifices to accomplish his goal.
For Jeff Curran, it is all or nothing.
This past weekend at Extreme Challenge 227, Curran competed at 125 pounds for the very first time. It was an important debut for the Team Curran fighter and a transition he handled well.
“I felt like the weight cut went great. I have a couple minor adjustments I will make next time around, but I felt like I have arrived after 15 years,” he laughed.
Curran faced Josh Killion in the EC 227 main event, a fighter previously unbeaten at 125 pounds. It was a fast paced match with plenty of exchanges. He earned a unanimous decision after three tough rounds. The entertaining fight earned both competitors “Fight of the Night” honors.
“This kid has a bright future for sure. He has made some technical improvements that were expected, but more than I thought,” complimented Curran. “He is a tough ass dude for sure; very fast and it was great to fight a kid with so much heart.”
Prior to his recent victory, the “Big Frog” spent a year away from competition nursing injuries and recovering from surgeries. He had time to reflect over the two disappointing losses in the UFC that lead to his departure from the organization.
Over the past few months, Curran has been filming a documentary of his life and career in the sport he’s poured his heart and soul into.
“The film, Martial Life, will hopefully be available for free download this summer. It features an exclusive, one-time look into my life as a kid and how I became involved in mixed martial arts,” said Curran. “The majority of the footage and story was shot over the final six weeks prior to my 125-pound debut versus Josh Killion. We were on the road to Bellator, UFC, XFC and XFO.
“I hope it is an inspiring film that shows the ‘old school’ grit and grind mentality of my era of fighter and how I fit into this present day MMA as a coach, fighter, instructor, business owner, father and husband.”
With his career on the line, Curran faces Sergio Pettis next month for the Resurrection Fighting Alliance promotion’s inaugural flyweight title. It is a great opportunity and easily one of the most important steps towards the top of the 125-pound weight class.
“Pettis is a future superstar because of the road his brother (Anthony) and his coaches have paved. He is a talented kid,” commented Curran. “He is yet to face top competition, so this is a great opportunity for both of us. It’s a contrast of styles and eras, age and youth, experience and teams. Gonna be exciting!”
Curran pulled no punches with his response at the possibility of another setback. “(If) Sergio wins, he is the man who retired me. That is a fact. I am not here to play around.”
Capturing the RFA belt with a win over Sergio Pettis would certainly put Curran back on the map, but will it catch the eye of UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby?
“That is a question only he can answer. I would hope so. I feel the division could use a name like mine to thicken the pot. Time will tell.”
Despite injuries, surgeries and setbacks, Curran plans to find his way with one last push towards the top of a new weight class. He’s made an impact on the sport over the years and will always be a consummate professional regardless of what the future holds for him.
“I would like fight fans to follow my film’s twitter @martiallifefilm and my handle @bigfrogbjj. Thanks for all the support to my sponsors Alienware and Blue Grace Logistics. To everyone at Team Curran, Suckerpunch Entertainment, Brian Butler, Monte Cox, my family and wife Sarah and all my friends and fans. Thanks for all the support!”